Every month, we interview an Uplight employee to get to know more about what they do at Uplight, why they love working here, and what inspired them to get into this industry! This month, I chat with an employee that’s been with us less than a year, James Armstrong.
What do you do for Uplight?
I work to lead and support our Activate product line engineering teams. Simply put, after end users are “Engaged” in the ideas of energy savings by products like Home Energy Reports, we enable those users to “Activate” on those recommendations before (hopefully) passing them onto Orchestrate to control. In conjunction with our eCommerce, Information Systems, and Reporting colleagues, we deliver a number of products from our Marketplace offering through to our WorkFlow Automation product.
What do you find most exciting or rewarding about working for Uplight?
After years of working for Software as a Service (SaaS) companies and consultancies, it is a delight and a great personal opportunity to work in pursuit of a more noble goal. Climate Change is the defining issue of our time and the opportunity to make a more significant impact, than is otherwise achievable in our daily lives, is something I hope will really make a difference for all our children.
How does the work you do contribute towards creating a more sustainable future and better customer energy experiences?
With the Activate product line, we work to make direct impacts on end user energy consumption by helping people get smart energy saving devices and contractor supported energy retrofits. Through our work to help energy utilities use their Energy Efficiency and other budgets to reduce the cost of these products and services, we are able to make a significant impact for anyone who is in one of our client’s service areas. Perhaps most personally significant, the LMI programs we support make a real difference for end users who would otherwise be left behind by the movement.
How did you get into this work?
As soon as it was established that I was not going to be a fighter pilot (too tall and too blind), Computer Science was the next best path for me. After graduating I worked in France on IOT (before it was called that) via GPRS networks. In Wales, I worked in SaaS before heading to San Francisco to work with a midsized startup called Salesforce.com. After a stint attempting to make market research meaningful (and losing to Cambridge Analytica and the like), I spent a while showing financial organisations how agile software delivery can work before finally joining Uplight this year, just before the great enforced remote working social experiment of 2020. Please take my word for it that I’ve worked here since January, even if I haven’t met most of my coworkers in person as I would have liked by now.
What has been your favorite project so far at Uplight?
For me, some of the most interesting projects are those where we get to work with people from many disciplines to solve a collective problem. While the projects are still in progress, I would call out those that we are working on to deliver improvements to the operational aspects of our Marketplace offering. Working across multiple teams to break down challenges and collaborate on solutions together is always the most rewarding. The MVP of UpSuite (the new customer care interaction portal) had delivered a 23% reduction in first tier customer care interaction already. With many more improvements to come and a number more projects in progress, we hope to make some significant improvements to our overall operations.
What is one thing that has most surprised you about working here?
When I joined Uplight I knew that we were working on a number of utility focussed energy efficiency projects, but I didn’t realise that the work we do every day would have such a significant potential impact toward our collective climate goals. The Paris Climate Agreement lays out a very significant goal for us to aim toward. Renewable energy economics are presenting a very clear and compelling transition point right now and we need to really focus on how to support our utility partners through that transition. Now that I know the team we have here, I cannot wait to drive more of that green energy revolution through energy efficiencies, grid control, and energy storage.